I recently spent a glorious Oregon summer afternoon in the company of a tea friend and fellow chanoyu student. She is my senpai (senior student) and invited me for a hike and tea. Well, that's perfection!
We decided to wear yukata, casual summer kimono. The sun was out, there was a light breeze, we were in nature and on our way to have tea. I was definitely in my happy place! We hiked in the Hoyt Arboretum to the Tree House. It's a small grove of trees that form a canopy over a secret hideaway. There we settled. We began with a picnic of tea eggs and onigiri (sticky rice balls) with roasted barley herbal tea.
Then it was time for the tea (matcha) and sweets! My friend brought her fun chabako set. A chabako is a portable, lidded box that contains the necessary equipment for making tea - bowl, tea container, scoop, whisk, sweets container, etc. All you need is a thermos and you can host a traveling tea ceremony!
This wasn't any ordinary chabako set (not that any are really ordinary). This set was brought to life by my artistic friend who put her skills to good use! She used Hello Kitty as her theme then made and re-purposed items in creative ways to make a whimsical and yet functional chabako set!
My friend and the basket that held the thermos and chabako box
This natsume was originally a toy from a vending machine!
Setting things out to make tea
The Hello Kitty chawan, tea bowl
There are so many details that I'm leaving out, yet I hope you can get the idea of how clever this chabako kit was and how lovely of an afternoon! It is an experience that I am still savoring.